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  #401 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2014, 3:07 PM
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Question Uniden BCD536HP Performance in Fort Worth Regional and TXDPS

Hello all RR members!

I have recently been upgrading my radio equipment (just purchased a new Yaesu FT1DR and I'm loving the integrated GPS for APRS or C4FM digital - isn't that also P25 Phase 1); needless to say I have been thinking of upgrading my months old, yes its true (I live in Denton County and we are still on analog for interop with Lewisville), therefore after reading so many of these pages in this thread - the question still remains will the new Uniden models from THEIR OWN HOMETOWN work correctly with decoding P25 Phase II and X2-TDMA because this is silly that working with Denton County Emergency Services and with our weird county lines and city borders its just a PITA. I cannot seem to get the BCD996XT (great scanner by all means, I may just keep it) but it will not pick up Fort Worth when I cross over IN DENTON COUNTY within the City of Fort Worth's mess at the Texas Motor Speedway and Alliance Airport (the new military airport as the Joint Reserve Base has been relegated to Lockheed testing and who knows what).

So my question is, does anyone have either (or preferably both) of the new Uniden models in use here in Dallas / Fort Worth? Do they work well in simulcast and please tell me would have or would be willing to make a quick YouTube of their performance from Alliance to Downtown and shoot, maybe even down to Burleson if you can. I personally don't give a HOOT about Wi-Fi (especially in a dongle - UPMan you should be ashamed, if Yaesu can fit a GPS sensor - likely a SIRF III or better in such a small package, you could have fit a Wireless N or BETTER YET, A BLUETOOTH ADAPTER SO WE COULD USE THESE WITH AD2P audio streaming to our cars).

Anyway, thanks again all - I'm going to go do some range reports and then most importantly - go SHOOT MY Bushmaster M4 in Burst and Full Auto at Frisco Gun Club! After all, a 420rd box of M193 55gr on 10rd strippers aren't but $200 and they go fast on auto. It's sure draws a crowd though, but we have to qualify for work each three months and Q4 just started...

Happy Scanning and DXING all RR members!
Brian (just call me Tate ok?)
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  #402 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2014, 3:20 AM
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Does anyone know if Uniden is comming up with a firmware update for the 396XT in future to improve P25 lsm / simulcast ??
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  #403 (permalink)  
Old 02-26-2015, 6:50 PM
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I'm really surprised to note that this thread only grew two pages in the last nine months (having reached nearly 20 pages in the first two months after the x36 radios were released). Anyhow, a few questions...

Is there any better info/conclusions here at RR than what's in this thread?

Have firmware updates significantly affected the x36 units' performance (positively or negatively) in any significant way?

I'll be installing a 536HP on my feed tomorrow, so I'll update this thread with initial and ongoing performance assessment.
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Old 02-26-2015, 7:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC9NEG View Post
I'm really surprised to note that this thread only grew two pages in the last nine months (having reached nearly 20 pages in the first two months after the x36 radios were released). Anyhow, a few questions...

Is there any better info/conclusions here at RR than what's in this thread?

Have firmware updates significantly affected the x36 units' performance (positively or negatively) in any significant way?

I'll be installing a 536HP on my feed tomorrow, so I'll update this thread with initial and ongoing performance assessment.
Well, I got my 436 a few weeks back and simulcast performance of SVRCS (P25 Phase II in Silicon Valley NorCal) stinks at my listening location. And I'm just a couple miles from the tower. I can get some calls if I orient the scanner horizontally in one specific spot and point the unit in one specific direction (which seems to coincide with the local antenna location). Otherwise, calls are skipped and what comes in is horribly garbled.

Since I'm very close to the tower I tried the no-antenna/paperclip antenna/attenuator tricks that have worked for a few and none worked for me.

I take the unit to my office about 7 miles away from home and it comes in good with few dropouts or clicks and the error rate is low. What I would expect from a scanner.

I've got a small 800MHz Yagi ordered and am going to try that to try to null out the other antenna.

Bottom line - very sensitive to simulcast. It's a complete crap shoot whether it will work or any specific system combined with the scanner's location and antenna.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:47 AM
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I got a 536HP up and running on my feed tonight if anyone wants to have a listen. This LSM CQPSK system has been notoriously difficult to monitor. At our present location it was terrible since we moved two months ago using a Pro 197. I've done no advanced tuning yet, only had a quick play with a Laird 6dB gain Yagi (which was required for acceptable decoding). I won't provide subjective analysis beyond saying it's a massive improvement.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:42 AM
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The Martin County (Florida) system just south of me was deamed unmonitorable with every scanner I have owned, and that is many. When I got the 536 and 436 and tested them on this system, it was chopping and dropping out even more than my GRE scanners. The GRE did better until today...the day I finally created a FL for that system and played with manual threshold. Auto at 8 did not ever attempt to lower the error rate of 55 to 80. Manual at 10 is the best setting for both units, and that lowered the error rate to around 30 to 55. Now I get almost 100% copy with some ocassional dropouts. If I listen to the CC (conventional analog), I hear a lot of phase distortion, so the system is overlapping quite a bit. The bottom line is the adjustment opened up this system for the first time.

Signal on my trusty discone is full scale, and on the 436 stock duck is 1 bar at best in the house (concrete and tinted windows). But decode on the 436 is a little better with fewer drops. Good test bed for an antenna shootout! I grabbed every portable antenna I had and tested them on this system, as well as the VHF/UHF and amateur radio bands. I even tried my /\/\ 800 half wave duck. Surprising that although it showed 2 to 3 bars on average, it had a very hard time decoding the simulcast system. What worked best? A telescopic whip at 10" (3/4 wave). 2 to 3 bars with almost perfect copy inside the house. I use this telescopic set at 17.5" for most of my in-room listening when away from home. It still works good on this system at that length. The stock antenna almost works good enough, and was good enough on all bands I tested, so it's not junk at all. My Diamond SRH77CA did bad on 800, and didn't pickup the system except if I moved it from my fixed test location to a hot spot in the house. This antenna does well on ham bands, but not the best elsewhere. VHF/UHF? Good, but my new Comet SMA 24 was better then the Diamond on all frequencies (except maybe ham bands)...including this 800 system. And even though I only get about 1 bar on this system, it is always near 100% copy. This is my best portable antenna. The stock antenna is my "stubby" portable antenna. But the telescopic whip wins...And if I need a bit more gain on 800, I can set it to 10" and get more signal.

EDIT: I forgot to mention I also tested the stock ICOM 2m/440 duck, and it did good on 800 with up to 2 bars. Not a bad 800 antenna at all, but not good on commercial VHF. Pretty good on UHF, but my VHF band is way too important to sacrifice just for 800, so the others I mentioned above are better choices. Sorry, no RS 800 duck antenna to test here, but even if I had one, it's not a complete solution antenna. I listen to everything!


Bottom line? The right scanner settings on the 536/436, along with the right antenna, pull in my worst simulcast system now with ease.

Phil

Last edited by SOFA_KING; 02-28-2015 at 11:53 AM..
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  #407 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2015, 4:31 AM
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My 436 did pretty well with Las Vegas Metro's new system, i was rather happy, especialy compared to the HP-1 with simulcast.. which was my old travel scanner and it was pretty awful
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:56 PM
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My 436 won't decode the EBRCS (East Bay Area System). Performance is horrid and unlistenable, despite all the RR tricks/settings.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:29 AM
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Given the variety of radios I have and my usage, reception of digital simulcast systems on any scanner continues to vary widely mostly based upon location. If you are either:

(a) reasonably close to a transmitter site such that all other transmitters are extremely weak as compared to the one you are receiving and/or
(b) outside the intended area of coverage such that you receive one transmitter site that is closest with all others not playing a factor
(c) the "site" only has one transmitter/tower

reception will be pretty good or most radios - but of course there are no guarantees.

The worst case for all is when you are smack in the middle of 2 or more transmitters.

Another factor to consider is that most of these new systems are more finely tuned to keep the signals inside the area of coverage (but there are some exceptions). This is probably another thing that folks don't consider given that in the past, you could receive trunked systems (or conventional frequencies) at fairly great distances outside the area they served. That is rapidly changing.

Bottom line is - just like real estate - it's a matter or location. It could take just a matter of inches to get improved reception.... or miles. Mobile? Expect even more pain.

There's lots of room for improvement.I sense there is a known fix but I'm not sure why the scanner vendors haven't implemented it yet other than it is potentially cost prohibitive.
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Last edited by troymail; 03-08-2015 at 11:33 AM..
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  #410 (permalink)  
Old 03-08-2015, 9:41 PM
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Time to check back in with my experience with the 536 on my feed. The first day went so well, the radio seemed truly a panacea for what's ailed my feed since we moved. Not so fast, though... I could leave the office with everything humming along and a half hour later it would all fall apart. I can't put my finger on it--whether I use the Pro-197 or the BCD536HP, I can simply count on daily fiddling as long as I want to keep this feed reasonably worth listening to. I am on a "discovery" (I say that very cautiously) that seems to have held decent reception for 24 hours now. Here's what's working for anyone that cares to have a listen. Your suggestions are, of course, welcome as to how I might further improve performance:

Attenuator: ON
Audio AGC: OFF
P25 Threshold Mode: Default

6dB gain Yagi is EXTREMELY sensitive to pointing. Literally 5-10 degrees rotation or moving the antenna three inches laterally can make the difference between what can be heard right now vs. zero decoding at all. It seems I can be as technical as I care to; it's still largely black magic and patient experimentation more than anything else that leads to any success.

I can say for certain that the Pro-197 still does sound unquestionably better when it's decoding well (which is harder here vs. the 536). The AGC works well on it; dispatchers and mobiles both sound loud and clear. On the 536, mobiles are often much quieter and the whole tonal character is much more "digital" vs. the natural voice sound of the GRE-made radios. In the end, it's "pick my poison"... if only I could have a radio that decodes like the Uniden but sounds like the GRE here...
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Old 03-04-2016, 9:31 PM
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Monitoring Pinellas County's (Florida) P25 simulcast system has always been a frustrating experience with my 396T. Move the scanner a few millimeters and you *might* find a sweet spot that *might* last a few moments.

Enter the 436HP. What a night and day difference. Even transmissions with errors in the 20-30 range still hit my ear as if they were 0 error transmissions.

Knew I had to have the 436 for P2 and ProVoice, but was apprehensive that I'd still be listening to a choppy local P25 simulcast system. It sure didn't disappoint. Thanks UPMan and Uniden.
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  #412 (permalink)  
Old 04-02-2017, 11:06 PM
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Default Oakland PD and Fire Simulcast Finally Working

Oakland PD has recently switched to the East Bay Regional Communications System (EBRCS) several months ago (January 2017?). I just discovered this last week when talking to a Oakland PD officer. The Officer noted that his new radio cost more than everything combined on this belt including his service handgun. Today I updated my Uniden 436 using an updated Sentinel v1.07 software, downloaded updated database and I can report that after all these years it is finally working like the old days when everything was much simpler.

The old simulcast drop-outs and interference so far has disappeared after testing it out for the last 4 hours.

Last edited by Danny94103; 04-02-2017 at 11:25 PM..
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